Chapter 8: Two Hidden Treasures
Learning Group Discussion: 2/12-2/18
Reading Assignment Outline
Hebrews: Preaching as Theology
- Author: anonymous, excellent Greek, rhetoric of exposition and exhortation, use of Torah
- Date: between 60 and 90CE
- Context: maybe ethnically Hellenistic Jews, also Christians,
- faith community in danger of “falling away”
- superiority of Jesus to God’s earlier agents
- engages the symbolism of the ancient cult, especially sacrifice
- merging of biblical cosmology and Platonic categories (material/ideal, earth/heaven)
- Christ is the perfect mediator between God and humans because he is (ontological) both divine and human, and because Christ’s mediating role is not static but dynamic (moral). p88
- Christ represent humanity as its priest forever
- cloud of witnesses
- Jesus is both the cause of salvation and the model of obedient faith
James: powerful moral exhortation
- Author: maybe James, brother of Jesus and leader of the church in Jerusalem
- Date: maybe between 57CE (response to Romans 3:28) and 62CE (martyrdom of James)
- Context: possibly a sermon, circular letter to “the twelve tribes of the dispersion”
- Paul: “righteousness by faith” / James: “faith without works is dead”
- James and Paul agree that belief must be expressed in behavior
- James’ emphasis on moral dimension of discipleship
- God enters into friendship with humans
- James makes use of the entire spectrum of Scripture: sayings of Jesus, OT wisdom, law, and prophets
- What learning from Hebrews did you find most helpful to your faith journey?
- What learning from James did you find most helpful to your faith journey?
- Which author speaks stronger to our age and how?
Scripture Passage and Prayer
- Settle into a comfortable sitting position. Be still and quiet.
- With eyes closed, slowly say, “I see and receive the love and joy with which God gazes at me as I gaze at God.”
- Remain still and quiet with eyes closed for awhile.
- Open eyes and slowly read the Scripture passage, pausing after every verse.
- Notice what words or phrases capture your curiosity.
- Notice what words or phrases touch your heart.
- Notice what words or phrases cause you to consider a specific act of faith.
- Close with a sentence of gratitude.